Many of us are rounding the corner on a full year of home life. All. The. Time.
Work, play, dinner, celebrations and downtime all take place in our residence, sometimes all in the same room, depending on our proverbial New York square footage, and that’s paired with a testy wallet fearful of spending in a pandemic economy.
“We’re at home and everybody needs a change,” said Charlotte Barnes, principal of Charlotte Barnes Interior Design and Decoration. “None of us have thought about our houses as much [before] because we were constantly running from here and there, working, meeting friends. Now we’re at home, and it’s a whole different feeling.”
It’s not all gloom and doom, though, when it comes to freshening up your home. The designers dish the dirt on how to reimagine your home décor without dipping into your savings.
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Get rid of clutter
“The first step in giving your home a refresh is to declutter,” said Jamie Hord of Horderly Professional Organizing. “Decluttering not only helps set priorities, but it helps your space feel lighter and brighter. You’d be surprised how different your home feels when it’s only packed with the items you use and love.”
Hord recommends removing all of your items and categorizing them in different piles to distinguish what you should keep, donate or throw away. Then reorganize what you’ve decided to keep and move on, both emotionally from your past and physically, to rearranging the rest of your belongings
Change things up
“We’re not meant to exist in static environments,” said Patty Morrissey, a lifestyle and organizing expert and Master KonMari consultant (for the famed Marie Kondo). “Nature is always changing, but our indoor environments do not. This fuels a feeling of stagnation and can exacerbate anxiety and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. When our environment is static, it sends us a signal that things will not change, whereas, in nature, we’re receiving input that everything is temporary — and ‘this too shall pass.’ ”
No one wants to feel stagnant, but we don’t want to move into the forest either. So, what to do?
According to Morrissey, you need a “lifestyle design.” Think about the type of person you want to be and what type of space would suit that person. Then go create it, and think outside of the box about how you go about it. Cost-free options include changing the function of the rooms in your house. Morrissey switched rooms with her 8-year-old daughter when the pandemic hit to give her more room to spread out and play, and they are still marveling at how the simple change made them happier and brought them closer together.
You can also pretend your home is a store and go “shopping” for supplies, like old paint in the garage that you can use to touch up fading walls. Are there picture frames lined up in the attic? Create new décor with your favorite family photos. Frames lined on the floor — and not hanging on the wall — are in vogue. Sell unwanted items that you find via apps like Mercari or Facebook Marketplace, so you can continue to create the space that you want to live in.
Add some flair
A simple pop of color or pattern added to a space, even if nothing else changes, is enough to brighten a room and make you feel like you are somewhere different, according to Barnes. Look for old materials around the house and repurpose them. Have an old towel with a cool pattern? Turn it into a bath mat. That sheet? Your new slipcover or curtain.
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To create ambience in your home, or to transition from office to evening solo soiree, add candles and dim the lights. That warms the space and improves your mood, said Barnes.
Barnes also suggests repurposing those drawers filled with old photos or even that stack of magazines. Cut out cool images and create a collage that you can hang in your bathroom. “It’s the place where you are sitting. You might as well give people something to look at,” she said.
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The simple act of moving a chair that has sat in your living room for eight years to a different room is enough to feel like you are in a new space.
“Just pick something up and move it,” Barnes said. “Give it a try. If you don’t like it, you can put it back.”